I've never had a problem SHARING my story because somehow through telling it many times, I've gotten over most of the shame and embarrassment years ago. The problem I do have is FEELING my story. I normally tell it with little or no emotion attached to it at all. It's almost like I am reading it from a book or something...not able or wanting to FEEL my story or accept the fact that this happened to ME.
**PLEASE READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.** I get relatively graphic in my details...and I do this for several reasons. First, in my opinion it's a huge insult to victims and survivors of CSA to gloss over or "sugar coat" the details of what we had to endure. Secondly, I believe the general public needs to hear these graphic details. The hope being that the more often these graphic stories appear publicly, the stronger the emotional effects will be on our society; prompting more legislation, awareness, and harsher penalties for perpetrators. Lastly, I tell my story this way because it's the truth of what happened to me. I must tell it raw detail for myself, helping it sink in and allowing me to feel, get angry or sad, or grieve the loss of my childhood and innocence. Every time I tell my story, it helps me to feel a little bit stronger and a little more proud of the fact that I survived this wretched hell growing up and I'm still standing.
Before I start, I want to give a shout out to every single one of you adult men who've survived childhood sexual abuse, incest, and physical abuse. You are a warrior. Your strength and perseverance are second to none. I honor your strength and courage.
My name is Ralph and I was born in St. Louis, MO in the summer of '73. My Mom, Dad, and older sister Lisa lived in a modest 2 family flat in south St. Louis. My Dad wasn't really around and Mom seemed to be the only parent involved. I remember my mom being kind and loving. Dad would go straight to the bar after work and wouldn't come home till my sister and I were in bed. My first memories relating to child sexual abuse started at a very young age. As a matter of fact, one of the first memories I have in my life was me being on top of a chubby naked woman who much later I learned was one of my babysitters. Thankfully the memory isn't scary or traumatic...because what was soon about to come into my life would be much much worse. My mom and dad's marriage was crumbling and eventually Dad moved out.
My parents officially divorced when I was 5 yrs old and my mother seemingly remarried another man quickly. His name was Jim. Compared to my dad, this new guy Jim was rough looking. My dad was clean cut, pretty well dressed, and clean shaven. Jim had longer hair, a full beard and mustache, and lots of tattoos. He looked like he was in a biker gang or something. I got a scary vibe from him immediately. I don’t know why. Perhaps it was the divorce in general or the way he looked. Well, the vibe I had reached an apex the day they got married. During Jim and Mom's ceremony, I revolted and caused quite a scene! I started yelling and being a menace. I remember ripping these beautiful flowers out of the ground at the venue. Eventually my grandmother removed me and took me back to her house, missing the ceremony herself. It's like I knew my Mom was making a grave mistake marrying this monster and I was desperately trying to voice my opinion!
My intuition about Jim proved correct. It didn’t take long for him to start abusing me. A couple of memories stand out. The first one is of me sitting alone in the middle of our living room floor playing. I look over towards the front door and I see Jim standing there completely naked. He's peering outside through the horizontal blinds on the front door. Naturally I thought it was strange so I said something to the effect of, "What are you doing Jim?" To this day almost 39 years later, I can still remember his words and the sinister look he gave me. He replied, "Don't call me Jim, call me Dad!" Whoa. I felt this feeling that can only be described as impending doom. The second memory is much more traumatic. I don't recall what I did to provoke Jim this particular day, but I remember he suddenly grabbed me and held me up by my neck with one arm. I'm flailing around and grabbing his arm for some leverage in a vain attempt to free myself. He was yelling, "Turn Loose! Turn Loose!" As a 5 year old, I didn't know what he meant (still not sure!). I assumed he meant let go of his arm. I did and then he reared back and punched me in the face. There was this strange flash of light accompanied by force to my face/head area….and then the next thing I know, I’m on the floor. I don't remember anything else after that for quite some time. These physical beatings were not daily, but consistent through the first couple of years of my Mom's marriage to him. I quickly became terrified of this man.
One very cold and very dark morning...he added a new kind of abuse. I was in 2nd grade (8yrs old?) My Mom woke me up at like 3 a.m. one morning and said, "You're going to work with your Dad (Jim)". I was very confused. This was something totally unannounced and new. I obviously hated Jim and was wondering why my mother would do this? Reluctantly, I went along..........and had my innocence, trust, and life shattered. Jim was an overnight janitor who cleaned bars and restaurants overnight. Our first stop was an old bar/restaurant called Cafe' Louis among the original old cobble stone streets of the Laclede's Landing area of St. Louis. I remember Jim leading me down the creaky steep stairs to Cafe' Louis's damp and musty basement. I remember a lot of boxes of beer and stuff and there was a single light bulb half hanging from a cord above us. The next thing I realize is Jim has me up against a pole and has my pants down. From behind me I hear him say something like, "I'm just going to rub it around there......I'm not going to stick it in or anything" I can feel his penis in between my butt-cheeks. I am frozen in fear and confusion.
The next thing I feel is the most excruciatingly burning pain. I cried out. I remember the feeling of betrayal...that Jim lied to me. He said he wouldn't stick it in, but he did. I seem to remember clutching that dirty pole tightly and quickly losing touch with reality. I don't remember how long it lasted, and I don't recall if he "finished" or not. But the one thing I remember quite clearly is the disgustingly offensive gesture Jim made when it was all over. He handed me 2 quarters and told me to go back upstairs and play the Pac-Man game. Wow.
This evil creature raped an 8 year old boy for 50 cents. This son of a bitch took my childhood innocence, my trust, my sanity and paid a measly a half a buck for it. Needless to say, I don't remember playing the Pac-Man machine. I don't remember much of anything for a long time after that.
For the next 4 years, these rapes would become a regular occurrence with increasing frequency. He also started to make me suck his penis.....and almost always until he came in my mouth. It was disgusting. It tasted awful, and he would never give me a warning so I'd have a chance to pull away. I remember gagging and choking a lot and he didn't seem to care one bit. He would grab my head and keep it there. The raping and sodomizing became very routine. I'm angered looking back and realizing how "programmed" Jim had me too. It got to the point where all he had to do was whisper my name in a certain tone from the top of the stairs. Once I heard that tone, I knew what to do. I dreaded hearing it. He called my name many other times throughout the days, but when he wanted me it was a sickening and unique tone. The ritual became absolutely monotonous. I'd trudge upstairs to the hallway to give him oral, or to my bedroom for the raping. This is sickening for me to say, but I remember being so "trained" that I would just hop up on my bed, face the wall on all fours, and he would enter me from behind. A strong disturbing olfactory memory is the smell of the Cocoa Butter lotion...his preferred lube of choice I guess. Should I be grateful that he used lubrication at all?
After a period of time, I noticed something very interesting. When Jim would call to me from the top of the stairs, I began to go “blank” or into some sort of trance. Basically, I would mentally “check out”. In this state of mind I no longer felt fear, anxiety, or any emotion at all. While enduring the extremely painful experience of anal penetration, I wouldn’t feel any physical pain at all. I’m incredibly grateful and fascinated that I developed that “skill”. It was as if my mind began to protect me somehow by severely dissociating. At times I felt like I wasn't even in my body anymore. Unfortunately, this dissociation was temporary.
I have a particular memory that’s pretty vivid that I’ve never been able to get out of my head. It’s a memory of what I used to do after Jim was done raping me anally. He would ejaculate inside of me every time. As soon as he was finished and I was free to go, I’d head straight to the bathroom and sit on the toilet. I always felt like I had to have a bowel movement afterwards, but I rarely did. However, I would strain in an effort to expel the semen out of me as much as I could. I was usually successful. Sometimes there was a little blood mixed in. No child on the face of this planet should have to endure something like that. I endured it dozens and dozens of times.
The next memory that comes to mind is one of the most traumatic of all. One night I was awakened by Jim and told to come into him and my mom’s bedroom. I thought, “Oh shit, here we go again”. I did find it strange though because Jim never woke me at this hour to molest me…it was usually in the daytime when my mom was at work. Well, I trudge into their bedroom and I see Jim and my mom having sex. I froze…not knowing what to do. Jim saw me and told me to come in. The next horrible vision I have is of this seemingly large and hairy vagina in my face and just doing what I was told. To this day I can almost sense the smells and tastes. Ugh. I was also made to have sex with her. Being around 11 years old, I was able to get an erection and I somehow managed to have intercourse with my own mother. I remember being so scared. I assume Jim instructed me on how to do these things to my mom because I had no real clue about sex or what to do. Meanwhile, my mother seemed drugged or very tired because she never spoke a single word and didn’t even open her eyes! When I was finished I remember Jim asking my mother if she wanted him to do anything to me. The funny thing is that without hesitation, my mom said “No.” Whew.
I still battle a belief that my mom was somehow drugged that night (or I’m still in denial). Surely if she was sober, she would have known and felt the difference between an adult male on top of her vs. her own 11 year old son! Again, her eyes were closed the whole time, but how do I explain her saying a very clear “No” when Jim asked her if she wanted him to do anything to me? Anyway, I do not remember going to bed that night….more memory loss. The next morning I remember getting up for school and encountering my mother in the kitchen. I expected some sort of an explanation…some form of apology…some comfort…anything! I got nothing. My mom acted as if nothing happened. Defeated, I grabbed something to eat and went off to the bus stop for school….I was devastated.
Looking back on my extensive childhood trauma, I came to believe that this single night of sex with my mother might be more traumatizing than the years of rapes and beatings by Jim. I’ve read that the closer the person is who abuses you is, the more “damage” it causes. Anyway, once I realized Mom wasn’t going to protect me I knew I had to do something. By this age I also knew Jim was molesting my older sister. I started to realize after spending the night at friend’s houses, that my home life was somehow different. I sensed that my friends weren’t going through the hell at home that my sister and I were. But what do I do about it?
Jim kept a .357 Magnum revolver in a top drawer in the dining room of our house. I knew very well of this gun because he used to show it to me and said If I ever told a soul about what he was doing to me, he would kill me and bury me deep in the woods so no one would ever find me. One day when I was alone, I went to that top drawer and took the gun out. I remember being surprised at how heavy it was. Next to the gun was a rectangular box of hollow tipped bullets. I fantasized about lying in wait and when he walked through the front door I would shoot him in the chest. Luckily I realized that murder is wrong and I didn't want to get in trouble.
The final straw was when he punched me dead in the face in front of one of my good friends simply because I asked to sleep over and I didn’t have an answer to his question of “why?”. After I got up, he told my friend and I to go on and get out of there. I remember crying as I got outside. I don’t recall much after that.
The last set of memories I have is the day I took my life back. I was walking home from school with my best friend Charlie. About halfway home, something came over me and I just blurted out what Jim was doing to me. Charlie sort of chuckled a little at first, but I said, “No Charlie, I’m serious”. This beautiful kid took me straight to his house because I was frightened that my secret was out. Plus, Jim has such a strong psychological hold on me that I thought somehow he knew I just told somebody and he was going to kill me. When we got to Charlie’s house, I went immediately up to his bedroom while he told his mother! I was absolutely terrified. There was no way I could go home and face Jim right now. He worked the 3rd shift and didn’t leave for work until like 8 o’clock that evening. For the next 4 hours or so, Charlie and I slipped outside and went into the large park across the street where I hid. Charlie’s mom must have called the police because I remember lots of patrol cars came and were looking for me. I was way to scared to show myself. I waited until I was sure Jim wouldn’t be home, and I finally walked home. There were many cops there and my Mom was hysterical.
That night would be the last night I would spend at home EVER again. The next morning I was at the bus stop and Jim drove by on his way home from work and just glared at me. I felt like I would faint. The fact that he didn’t stop and kill me or confront me must have meant that he didn’t know the secret was out! Later that day at school, two detectives wearing suits came to my 6th grade classroom and asked for me. I was taken to the station and questioned for hours. That night I was taken to an emergency foster home. A few days after that, I was placed in a more permanent foster home so I could finish 6th grade. That summer having somehow completed 6th grade, I was transferred to a Children’s Home where I’d spend the next 3 1/2 years.
To make a long story short, I had to testify in court. It was eventually confirmed that Jim was raping my older sister on a regular basis and our little half sister (his own daughter) was a victim too. Jim was convicted and sentenced to 24 years in prison. He served at least 20 and died a few years ago of cancer. Rumor had it that it was colon cancer. If so, the irony is sweet. I eventually got adopted at age 15 1/2 by a wonderful couple. The state of Missouri revoked my parent’s parental rights and the rest is history.
The effects of all of that trauma was severe. I’m now 43 years old. I’ve barely held a job, went thru a divorce, and have suffered a lifetime so far of depression, anxiety, and dissociation spells. I coped by using one drug or another daily for 25 years. But that eventually backfired because at age 40 I found myself snorting heroin. That shit almost cost me my life. However, I’m proud to say I sit here with almost 19 months of clean recovery from drug abuse. I’m just now getting into therapy due to the myriad of emotions, memories, and feelings that have started to flow out of me. After all, I was numb in one way or another my whole life. I’m not sure how to wrap this up but there’s one thing I have to say or rather request.
Will the moderators of this site please post this story. I’m worried that due to it’s graphic nature, It will get rejected. We all need stories like this out there. The days of glossing over and sweeping details under the rug must end.
To all the men who can relate to my story………you’re a warrior and I consider you my brother. Thank you.